1.         Golden Mountains of Altai (Russian Federation) (N 768rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1998

Criteria  (x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/768/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/768/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

UNESCO-UNDP mission in 2001

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Impacts of a road project across the site

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/768/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

According to newspaper articles including the Eurasia Daily Monitor dated 31 March 2006, the Russian Federation “pledged to build two huge natural gas pipelines to China by 2011, one of these routes has already triggered an environmental controversy….. a direct pipeline link between Russia and China through Altai is only possible across the Ukok highland. For years Russian environmental organizations have been calling for international support in their campaign to protect the Ukok highland, which is the natural habitat of the snow leopard and other endangered species.” The project for gas pipelines would adversely impact the outstanding universal value of the World Heritage property.

According to newspapers, protests against development plans of the Ukok highland erupted in the late 1990s. In December 1999, Russian scientists and environmental activists wrote a collective letter to Siberian Accord, an association of Siberian government leaders, arguing that a road or a pipeline could irreparably damage the Ukok highland. They also warned that the project would incur enormous costs in both construction and maintenance, since it would transit highland marshes, tundra, permafrost areas, and mountain passes at elevations reaching 2,600 meters. The scientists and environmentalists recommended an alternative route through Mongolia along existing roads. Nonetheless, in March 2000 the Siberian Accord group voted to approve road construction through Altai and across the Ukok highland into China. However, there has been no talk of any major road or pipeline project through the Ukok highland since then.

According to newspaper information, on 21 March 2006 the President of the Russian Federation during his visit to China made a statement about a new project in Altai. It was announced that China and the Russian Federation (Gazprom) had signed an Agreement for the construction of a gas pipeline from Russia to China through Altai. The information that a pipeline is under consideration was confirmed at a meeting between the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to UNESCO, the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee and the World Heritage Centre on 12 April 2006. At the time of the preparation of this document no further information was available.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 30 COM 7B.19

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7B.Add,

2. Recalling Decisions 22 COM/A1 and 25 COMIII.120-121 adopted at its 22nd (Kyoto, 1998) and 25th (Helsinki, 2001) sessions respectively,

3. Notes with great concern that a pipeline project across the World Heritage property of the Golden Mountains of Altai is being considered;

4. Regrets that the State Party did not provide any information in compliance with paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;

5. Recalls its request at its 22nd session (Kyoto, 1998) to the State Party to start a co-operative process with neighbouring States Parties to consider a possible transboundary extension of the World Heritage property;

6. Also requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed of any development plans that will impact on the World Heritage property and to provide the World Heritage Centre with a report by 1 February 2007 on the state of conservation of the property, including any pipeline or road constructions, for examination by the Committee at its 31st session in 2007.